HP Catalyst Project
The Department of Technology at ECSU is planning on offering online courses/programs to increase the reach of its academic programs. This in turn will help programs attract and retain students from wider geographic areas. The majority (over 70%) of courses offered in the Engineering Technology and Industrial Technology programs are laboratory based. The goal of providing online programs cannot be realized without proper infrastructure in place to facilitate remote accessibility to physical laboratories (equipment and software).
Through our VRLE lab project, under the HP Catalyst Initiative, we plan to address following issues/challenges:
- Lack of fully online courses: Over sixty-percent of courses in Engineering and Technology are hands-on laboratory-based. With providing remote accessibility to laboratory equipment, it is a challenge to deliver these courses online. Through online courses we can increase the reach of our programs to geographically dispersed population.
- Low utilization of lab resources & lower project completion rate: Due to limited classroom/laboratory space, same space is used to conduct multiple classes. Most of these classrooms are integrated with laboratories. Students are not able to access these laboratories after their classroom room hours. This leads to low utilization of laboratories and lower course project completion rate.
- Low retention: Unavailability of online courses and flexible learning opportunity hampers our ability to reach out to large number of students that severely affects our retention.
- Provide equitable access to technology-based learning: Provide technology-enabled learning environment/experience to students, especially underrepresented/underserved groups from the regional 21 counties in northeast NC, which are most rural and low income counties in NC and in the nation.
- Reduce the cost of delivering instruction: Online delivery model leads to sharing and maximizing the utilization of resources and hence, can significantly reduce the cost of delivering instruction.